Lower Grades

Exploration and Discovery

Our grade school curriculum lays the foundation for academic success. It is rich in story, music, art, movement, math, science, and history—designed to develop creative thinkers with a passion for inquiry and a strong sense of self.

Grades 1-3

Grade school students playing tug-o-war

In their early years at Seattle Waldorf School, students are inspired to learn through storytelling and exploration of the self and the outdoors. Students build foundational skills in reading, writing, math, history, and geography alongside consistent integration of world cultures, music, art, movement, and social emotional development.

As students grow together, they learn who they are in community with others, what it means to be a good friend and neighbor, and how to engage in an academic setting.



Central Capacities

    • Fine and gross motor skill development
    • Collaboration with peers
    • Curiosity for learning and growth
    • Conflict resolution
    • Empathy and appreciation for others
    • Emerging Academic Skills across disciplines

Grades 4-5

Grade school students playing tug-o-war

Grades 4 and 5 serve as a key transition between the exploratory and foundational early years of academic learning and the increased expectations in middle school. Still working in community, students deepen their own sense of independence and responsibility and learn how to navigate a more complex social realm.

Morning lesson work takes on more depth, introducing distinct subject areas such as sciences and geography. Students continue to deepen their capacities for language, writing and presenting, learn intermediate math skills, and begin orchestra (Strings) and partake in overnight trips.



Central Capacities

    • Increased collaboration to solve more rigorous academic and social challenges
    • Deepening empathy through experience with and exposure to different perspectives
    • Ability to complete work independently
    • Increased practice around restorative practices
    • Introduction to research methodologies and presentation skills


Through a curriculum of rich storytelling, students live into the history, geography, inventions, lifestyles, and traditions of civilizations around the world. The four math processes are introduced in grade 1 through imaginative tales and natural manipulatives. By grade 4, students are comfortably working with fractions and decimals. Students actively create their own lesson books, filling them with summaries, maps, figures, and drawings.


Every lesson at SWS incorporates music, language, and visual arts. When students learn to sketch and paint, to sculpt and whittle, to knit and crochet, they are also learning about spatial relations that strengthen their study of math. They learn to play multiple instruments and read music. As a class, they sing and dance together, perform in plays, and participate in community-wide seasonal celebrations.


Children connect deeply to the natural world by spending ample time outdoors and learning about the history of the land. Our wooded campus is an extension of the classroom and students connect with the changing seasons through art, crafts, and festival celebrations. Starting in grade 2 students learn and work in our campus gardens, cultivating the soil and plants and developing a deep care for the environment.


Frequent, joyous movement supports brain development and learning. Students develop coordination by jumping rope and spatial dynamics by studying the movement art, Eurythmy. Children’s imagination and creativity is nourished by playing active games outside—building social skills and athletic stamina. By grade 4, games include a task or problem that directly supports academic work. Grade 5 students train for the Olympiad, an ancient Greek sporting event, as part of their study of ancient civilizations.